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Episode 512: Can Mezcal Save A Village?

Chopping a maguey plant, which is used to make mezcal.

hide captionChopping a maguey plant, which is used to make mezcal.

courtesy Mezcal Tosba

In the mountains of Oaxaca, in southern Mexico, there are basically no jobs. Villages are empty of young men, who go elsewhere in Mexico or to the U.S. to find work.

On today's show, we meet two cousins from Oaxaca who dream of bringing jobs to their village. Their strategy: Launch a startup to make mezcal, a popular local liquor — then get people in the U.S. to buy it.

Music: Music from the traditional Zapotec brass bands of the Sierra Norte in Oaxaca, Mexico. (recorded by Marianne McCune at the yearly fiesta in 2004). Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/Spotify/ Tumblr. Download the Planet Money iPhone App.

Correction Jan. 25, 2014

In this episode, we incorrectly stated that bourbon has to be made in Kentucky. It does not. According to the Kentucky Distillers Association, it does need to be made in the US.

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